Gran has stable of running backs at UT

One position that is loaded at the University of Tennessee is the running back position. Veteran running back coach Eddie Gran inherits a stable of runners that includes one senior, one sophomore and two incoming freshmen. Go inside to get a better look at the Volunteers running game and why so many fans are smiling.

After two scrimmages and 13 practices, one thing is obvious, while there are positions that don't have numerous options; the running back position isn't one of them.

Former Auburn veteran running back coach Eddie Gran inherits a couple of running backs from last years team in senior Montario Hardesty and Tauren Poole and two newcomers Bryce Brown and David Oku.

It's obvious that Hardesty has read all the press clippings and hoopla about Brown, the No. 1 overall player in the country and Oku who has impressed everyone since his arrival, especially during fall camp.

Hardesty has by far had his best fall camp of his career, but denies feeling pressure to perform by the newcomers.

"I don't feel any pressure on me," Hardesty said in an earlier interview. "I love competing with the fellas. I feel like I'm getting better everyday."

Injuries have been a problem for Hardesty the past few seasons, something he said isn't the case this fall.

"I'm completely healthy," Hardesty said. "As a senior we don't want to go down that same path we did last year, we are very hungry and much focused on having a better season."

Is Hardesty faster than years past?

"I haven't been timed lately, but I feel a lot faster," Hardesty said. "I feel that I'm in the best shape of my life."

Another Volunteer who plans on being heard from before this season is over is sophomore Poole.

Poole has shown on several occasions the Georgia native has to be considered to be in the race for some touches this fall.

Breaking several big plays in both scrimmages, Poole has demonstrated an explosive burst and a new quickness that didn't possess last fall.

Brown is the most heralded player at his position, but that's something that the true freshman isn't focused on. He feels that he has performed well and the transition is going smooth.

"I really don't think about that stuff much, I just go out and play ball" Brown said. "I know everyone has a lot of high expectations for me, I put a lot more on myself more than others do. I have goals of my own; my number one goal is for God's will to be done and to follow in his footsteps."

How does he evaluate his performance so far?

"I feel camp has been great," Brown said. "The coaches are putting a lot on us, but they are expecting greatness from this group. The transition to college football has been good; I feel this team will be ready for the season."

Oh by the way don't forget about the other true freshman David Oku.

Oku has been one of the most impressive backs this fall and has proven in several practices he has the moves and the speed to be a starter at most Division 1 programs in the country.

Oku has earned praises from Lane Kiffin on several occasions and it's evident he has a bright future as a Volunteer.

We asked the same question to a fan at one of the practices that we did about the quarterbacks.

We asked this fan if you had to choose a starter from these options

A.Montario Hardesty B.Bryce Brown C.Tauren Poole D.David Oku

Who would it be, the fan (who had previously asked about the quarterbacks wanted the none of the above option) decided to choose the option E. All of the above.

This should show you how good of shape the running back position is at Rocky Top.


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